The Runner Sports

Who To Follow During Maple Leafs Rookie Tournament

With the upcoming NHL season just around the corner, teams are gearing up for their training camps to start. Before those open, some teams will be participating in mini rookie tournaments. The Maple Leafs will host the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens this weekend for their annual rookie tournament.

This event allows recent draft picks and college signings to show a little preview of what they can offer before entering training camp and pre-season games. The Leafs will be icing a team that includes players that could make the big team this year, or at least start making a name for themselves for next year’s team.

If you plan on watching the games, here are a few of the bigger names you should keep an eye on:

 

Jeremy Bracco

Jeremy Bracco is a small, but deadly, right winger who split time with the Kitchener Rangers and Windsor Spitfire in the OHL last year. He amassed 83 points in 57 games between the two clubs and looked great all season. Bracco will really need to impress the higher ups this tournament going into training camp if he wants a shot to make the Maple Leafs. The Leafs are already stacked with a boatload of good wingers, so he will need to be a step above somebody else to make the team. The silver lining for him is that he turned 20 this year, so he is eligible to play with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL. If he goes there and tears up that league, he will be a top prospect to call up if an injury occurs.

 

Timothy Liljegren

Timothy Liljegren, a defenseman from the Swedish Elite League, was the Leafs’ first-round draft pick from this year. At the start of the year he was projected to be drafted in the top 10, but due to mono, he had to miss the majority of his season which hurt his ranking quite a bit. The Leafs felt he was worth the risk as their defense is kind of lacking outside of Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, and Nikita Zaitsev. Liljegren probably has the highest chance out of all the rookies to make the team, but he has to earn his spot. He has great puck moving abilities for an 18-year-old, but as we saw with Luke Schenn, it’s not always the best decision to put a lot of pressure on a young defenseman.

 

Ian Scott

Ian Scott was the only goalie that the Leafs drafted this year; he was drafted in the fourth-round, 110th overall. He played 50 games last year with the Prince Albert Raiders, posting a 0.895 save percentage and 3.69 goals against average. These numbers really don’t seem that great on paper, but it was his first time as a starting goalie and he had a depleted lineup in front of him. According to some scouts, Scott’s upsides include his height, reflexes, and rebound control. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes a similar path that Garret Sparks took, remaining in junior for a bit, getting called up to the AHL for a few seasons to develop and eventually becoming the full-time back up in the NHL before taking over the number one role (Sparks hasn’t completed this journey yet either, but the way he is progressing it won’t be surprising to see him take over Andersen’s job when his contract is up in a few years).

 

Full Prospect Tournament Roster

Vladimir Bobylev (F), Adam Brooks (F), Col Coskey (F), Martins Dzierkals (F), Carl Grundstrom (F), Nikita Korostelev (F), Tobias Lindberg (F), Mason Marchment (F), Ryan McGregor (F), Trevor Moore (F), JJ Piccinich (F), Kristian Pospisil (F), Dmytro Timashov (F), Travis Dermott (D), Marc-Olivier Duquette (D), Fedor Gordeev (D), Nicolas Mattinen (D), Keaton Middleton (D), Andrew Nielsen (D), Eemeli Rasanen (D), Jonathan Smart (D), and Kasimir Kaskisuo (G).

 

The Leafs rookies will play two games this weekend, once tonight at 7:00 PM ET and on Sunday at 4:00 ET. You can also stream both games on NHL.com, or watch them on Leafs TV.